$20 off Wanna Get Away Fares SouthWest Air

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No, I am not becoming a SW Air blogger after two SW posts in one week. Yes, we are all a bit over-the-top when it comes to collecting points from every place and everywhere. And ya know, sometimes it can pay off.

I love that our airline serves Coke products. I love to drink Coke (Zero is my favorite btw). I save every Coke “code” from every box. The 12 pack box code is worth 10 points. The 24 pack is worth 20 points. This is naturally on top of the 5x Ultimate Rewards points I got with my  CHASE Freedom card  for buying the Coke in a grocery store last month, this month? I even recycle the cans and get some cash back that way too!

Right now Coke Rewards is offering, for spending 100 points, a $20 code for SouthWest Air Wanna Get Away Fares. They also have one that you can try for a chance to win a pair of SW Air tickets for just 3 points! With prices going up all the time, even $20 off is a nice deal.

So, as most of you dedicated DeltaPoints readers know, I don’t fly SW Air. Not for any other reason than they are 2 hrs away for me and their idea of a Skyclub, as shown here by my good friend Marshall Jackson on Travel, does not excite me.

For SW AIR flyers this seems like a good value for Coke Rewards points. So I redeemed 100 points and now want to giveaway that CODE for $20 off a SW AIR flight that I will give to a random comment below. Please do NOT comment if you CAN NOT USE THE CODE to fly SW AIR before Nov. 15th, 2012 as I hate to see it go to waste. For the runner up I will also give away a Coke 10 point code for them to have a chance to enter the sweepstakes at Coke Rewards as well.

Also do note, *NOT MY LINK*,  there is still a live 50,000 Chase SW AIR card (edit deal is now dead – current best deal is here) floating around. While I cannot guarantee the points, most are reporting it is working. If you are thinking about a CHURN, why not add this one to the mix along with the 30,000 point DELTA GOLD AMEX and maybe the Hilton 40,000 card from CitiBank for a nice tri-fecta of 120,000 points for all 3 cards in one day (after you meet the spend that is). – René

 

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A Delta mileage run to Brazil? & thank you bloggers!

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There are few people like Rick, The Frugal Travel Guy. I read every word he writes. I listen, closely, when he speaks. He makes me think and I like that! The other brilliant mind I read each day is Gary, View from the Wing. I also pay very close attention when he speaks, even if I don’t always “get” everything he says. But yesterday, thanks to Gary, I am planning on going to Brazil on a mileage run. Here is the link to the post if you want to know what I am going on about.

….now that you are back, here is my plan. I need about 10k more MQM this year to end up GOLD for 2013. I may push for Platinum but would be fine with GOLD at this point. I have a few ETV’s to burn and thought about just flying over to see my mom as that will earn me the MQM’s I need. Then I read Gary’s post about British Avios points for no fuel tax from Brazil. I have never been to Brazil. There is a direct overnight flight from DTW to Brazil. I can connect via AZO and earn an extra 1000 MQM round trip and it costs less to buy the ticket from there I found from Matrix software search.

BTW, Matrix can also be useful for some of my other techniques I talk about. For example, do a search for airports 150 miles from your home one and see how many pop up that you did not know about!

So, I will get to vacation a few days in Brazil, spend the money it would have cost me in tax to burn my BA points originating in the USA with Delta and earn MQM’s and RDM’s. The RDM’s I earn will offset the extra Avios points it will take to fly from GRU rather than ORD as an origination point. I will start looking for a hotel on points so that will be free. Now I just have to find seats to make it all work!

This is why we all need to read blogs. We learn to think outside the box. It is also why we collect points from everywhere so that when you see something that makes your eyes sparkle and gleam, you can, like me, wake your wife up and say “Schmoopy, we are going to Brazil”! (I should admit she is not really happy about 10hrs in coach but it is a night flight both ways) – Rene

 

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Must “persons of size” buy two seats on SW Air or on Delta Air Lines?

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Last Friday The Today show had as a guest Kenlie Tiggeman, who is currently suing Southwest Airlines over an incident where she was told she was “too fat to fly” by a gate agent. Whether you agree or not with her issues with Southwest in her legal case, this is something that brings up a range of questions in my mind.

Now please bear in mind that I am not exactly tiny (yeah like most I need to drop about 30 lbs), so I get the problems with the reductions in seat sizes and this is one reason I like to sit “in front of the curtain”. You might remember my humorous post about things that will get you kicked off a Delta flight? It included being a “passenger of size” although in reality they will try to accommodate you in some way as you will see! Seriously though, my first question after seeing this story is how do airlines determine a passenger to be a “passenger of size” ? What are the alternate seating policies for “passengers of size” ?

 

Here is what our airline will do. First, Delta’s policies state that a passenger must be able to fasten the seat belt with 1 extension and lower both armrests. Failure to meet these conditions means the passenger qualifies as a “passenger of size” and must comply with alternate seating requirements. These can include requiring the passenger to move to another seat with more space available, or in the case of a full flight, they may end up having to wait for a seat on a later flight that is not fully booked so there would be an extra empty seat available. In today’s world of very full flights, this could be a long wait. But it is important to note that unlike SW Air, Delta does not require the passenger to purchase an additional seat. Delta’s policy is clearly stated at Delta.com.

Back to Southwest Airline’s policy that states in the contract of carriage on page 11 that it is their sole discretion to determine if a passenger “encroaches on an adjacent seat area or is unable to sit in a single seat with the armrest lowered.” The Today show story asserts that the Southwest Airlines employee asked this woman how much she weighed, and what size clothing she wore. Now in my experience, you NEVER ask a woman what she weighs or how old she is  (and I have been told the weight on her driver’s license is a “goal” weight)!

If the policies all center around fitting into the seat, then there should be a means provided to check to see if a passenger can in fact fit into the seat. Whether that means requesting any suspected “passengers of size” to pre-board in order to discreetly check or having a size-wise passenger seat available in a discreet location. This brochure, published in March of this year by NAAFA, makes several suggestions for persons of size to consider prior to travel in order to make things go more smoothly for them on their trip.

I like the fact that our airline will not force a 2nd seat purchase. But I also see the reason to amass just a ridiculous amount of points so I do not have to ever fly coach unless I want to! – Rene

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Funny Friday – Some of the best airline videos ever!

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It is Friday. The week has been long. How about we end the week with some smiles. Back before I was Delta Points I loved all the BA bloggers. I loved how Ben and Gary did the back and forth between the blogs. Then one of the other bloggers, Frequent Miler, did a made up text of an argument over Membership Rewards vs. Delta Skymiles. Here is the result put to cartoons I did after borrowing the script.

Then recently I found a Frontier video for their new mascot that is so funny I roared out loud. It is just hilarious and very well done!

And since it is just about time to punch the clock for the week, this may be the way your flight goes on the way back home tonight!

Have a fun weekend and tell me what video you like the best of the 3 for a chance to win a DeltaPoints T-shirt today! – Rene

 

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Let’s face it, our passion is not good for the planet!

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Do you have any idea how much fuel it takes to move a jet from the ground to cruising altitude? After that it still takes a bunch of gas to move us and our stuff from point A to B.

To be fair, the industry as a whole does today do all it can to reduce just how much of all types of pollution it creates. Delta Air Lines was one of the very first to make a concerted effort to recycle and continues to do so, and we should be proud of our airline for doing this.

Many of us “car guys” will spend a ton of time on our cars. We will wash them. Pamper them. Wax them. Do all we can to make them perfect. After all a clean, waxed & perfect car saves gas over a dirty one that will burn MORE gas right?

So have you ever thought about how your Delta Air Lines aircraft gets clean on the outside? My fellow BA blogger Frequent Flying did a post about Southwest Air and just what it takes to clean an airliner. But I want you to take the time to click on and watch the below video and see just how much WATER this process takes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSanofkPMFQ

Is there maybe a better way to go about cleaning the outside of an aircraft that will not only save a bunch of water but also reduce the amount of times you have to wash the aircraft? Skyteam partner Air France seems to have come up with a great way of doing all these things as you can see by this post on the Air France site and in the video below:

Now I hope the Delta looks at it’s partners’ efforts with this as I strongly feel over the next 20 years that clean water is going to be an issue for our planet. There are things we can do as well, as flyers, and I plan to cover these in a post soon. – Rene

PS – today’s drawing will be for a nice set of earbuds and a 1 time GoGo pass to a confirmed e-mail subscriber later today!

 

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Borta är bra men hemma är bäst – with Delta Air Lines!

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I love this Swedish saying and it translates to “away is good but home is best“! And you know, I feel that way about my Delta Air Lines after my recent trip and will go so far as to say I like the Delta business class “travel experience” better than United / Lufthansa 1st class. I proudly say I am biased toward my beloved airline, even with all it’s faults, and why do I say that? Let me break it down for you.

A trip is more than just a single flight. It is all the parts that make the trip an experience. Now I must say the private car to and from the plane in Frankfurt is just uber-kool. And the 1st class terminal is beyond uber-kool.

The rest, ehhh, ya know, really not so much!. The food was good in 1st but I like the choices and food much better on Delta over the pond and have almost never had a dish I did not like.

The business class product from FRA-GOT was much worse (the new ultra thin back breaker seats) than the KLM’s business one as well as the food offered for lunch and breakfast. The attendants are nicer and more attentive on KLM intra-Eurpe. The check-in at GOT on the Delta side is run by Air France. The United / Lufthansa one is run by SAS ( ugg ). The lounge at GOT is smaller on the Star Alliance side too.

Now one of the biggest reasons I love Delta over United are the airports. DTW is all that for me and I just love the airport. I love that you exit customs, have re-screening right there, then back into the airport and done (Oh and did I mention the Skyclub entrance right there with showers after my flight and the oxygen spa a few steps away).

With O’Hare you exit the international terminal, transfer via “tram-train” and then re-screen with the masses. Also, the United clubs I visited were smaller and more crowded than any Delta Skyclub I have been in and the snack choices were not as good. Power ports in T2 club were all sunk in so my e-Reader could not even charge up – Grrrr!

I can not wait to try the new ATL international terminal to open in May and plan to have lots of blog coverage with reader input and other bloggers live at the event if all goes as planned so stay tuned. – Rene

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Just what will get you arrested on/off a plane? Not so funny anymore!

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photo credit: Lori Barber – CBSDFW.COM

Mental illness is nothing to laugh about when it happens to someone you know or love. We may snicker over the recent AA attendants video of “get off the plane” scream but even those giggling in the video I bet were scared! Mental illness, as we have seen of late with JetBlue, can impact many others when the sick person is put in trust of the lives of many others on an airplane.

We all hope these people get the help they need and I sure hope this is not a growing trend. What about passengers? I did a lighthearted post HERE about things that can get you kicked off a Delta flight as in my mind, who would do any of those things. But with all that has been going on I did a search and was shocked at all the results. Just look at these:

Arrested for not turning off you cell phone HERE

Arrested for painting her nails in the bathroom HERE

This one – you decide – red beam out of glasses HERE

How many dumb drunks need to fly HERE?

I flew with the crew that dealt with this drunk HERE

And the drunks with DUMB jokes on a Delta flight HERE

I HATE baggy pants fashion so no pity for this one HERE

We all know you can not open a door at altitude right?
Not HERE on this Delta flight.

And these are all over the past year or so. I found a TON more and if you Google arrested and airline you will get a scary list. I had a step mom that was bi-polar and some days (when she was off her meds) I wish I could just block from my memory. Once again these types of reports remind us it is up to us all to keep one another safe from anything and everyone when as a group we are traveling at 500+ MPH in a tiny metal tube.

Be safe and fly alert everyone – Rene

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Delta Air Lines regional partner Pinnacle Air files for bankruptcy protection / restructuring

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Airline bankruptcies seem to have become part of the norm of doing business and now Pinnacle Air has as well. All the majors seem to be either doing it or have done it in the past. No one today is afraid of flying an airline in bankruptcy or in fear that their frequent flyer miles are going away or not earning them before, during or after the exit from the financial event.

Not just Delta, but all the major airlines need healthy regional partners to feed us into the HUB systemPinnacle Air flies a ton of routes for Delta and owes Delta million’s and now has a credit line, notably after the filing, for many millions more.

Pinnacles services to United and US Air will end / wind down and that means Delta will be the only big customer for Pinnacle going forward according to these SEC filings. Overall I see this as a good thing for us as Delta flyers. This will give Pinnacle a chance to rework many long term contracts with Delta and others. For Delta, they will undoubtedly have more control and “say so” going forward and long term as THE customer for the regional airline.

As a side note Delta has joined other airlines using this new interactive map system to see where you can fly from point A to point B. Try it and see what you think. – Rene

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Trip report Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden part one

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It has been so long since I was on a non-skyteam flight that I honestly cannot remember when it was. I think maybe 5 or 6 years ago, maybe on an AA flight? So this was an adventure for me and my wife!

First let me commend United’s regional jet partner. The inbound out of SBN was late due to winds at ORD and they turned the puppy in no time. And I mean as fast as people were off, they were boarding us to go back. Wow! Now thanks to “cell phone guy” we did have to wait a little longer, but we made it to the next gate with 15 min to spare. The United lounge was as packed as any Delta Skyclub as you can see.

I did not have much time to look around, but it looked like a std lounge. One nice thing was that they announced that the Lufthansa flight was now boarding and the 1st class line was very short since there were just 8 of us on the flight.

I was promised by Lufthansa that we would be on one of the upgraded 747’s with the new seat/bed configuration but that did not happen. Having said that, I was not disappointed and it is hard to see in the photo just how MUCH space you get. A mattress was put on my 2nd seat and it was very nice. I slept as well as I ever have on any flight.

I am not normally one to put up food photos since my fellow BA bloggers Ben and Gary do such a good job of it, but I will sneak in a few as the food was very good from the Champagne to start with caviar and then to the steak for the main course. All was top notch. The wine was a good red that retails for $45 / bottle from Austria. All very nice!

Also thanks to Ben and Gary, my directions to the 1st class terminal were perfect. Down to baggage claim, out the doors, turn left, a few min walk and you are there. Wow is all I can say. This is a lounge. I had tea, then a shower, then asked them to cook up a schnitzel to have with my eggs and potatoes from the breakfast buffet.

All great. Then, as you saw in my teaser post, the Mercedes Benz ride to our next flight. Remarkable. This flight is one of the reasons I collected so many Ultimate Rewards points and Continental points when those cards were available. I still have 270,000 more for another trip thanks to the 50,000 point INK BOLD and the 40,000 point Chase Sapphire Preferred® card!

It is great to be home in Sweden and here are some photos of the view of and from my mom’s flat in town.

Gothenburg is a truly beautiful city. Clean, for the most part, and a “green” city with lots of tree and flowers all over the place. It is a city with water and on the water.

You can take a bus or a tram anywhere you want to go all over the city for about $2 a ride and if you can get back fast enough, 1.5hrs I think, the return trip is free.

Next week I will do part two of the trip report with lots of photos of the city and our trip back that is just about complete as you are reading this post!

For all those who doubt the value of points, the trip cost us just points and $111 each all-in to fly. If you have family who do not yet get why we do what we do, point them this way. – Rene
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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An OFFICIAL update from DELTA about AF Business award seats

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Photo from scrapetv.com

“SkyMiles award seat availability in business class on Air France or KLM-operated flights is currently unavailable. Delta is working to resolve the situation.” – from Delta Air Lines

So we at last have an answer that they know “we have a problem Houston”! I blogged about this the other day after a request from a reader. I had known about this for a while but was hoping it was just a glitch that would be fixed quickly. Obviously it is not. There was also a FT reader who got an e-mail direct from the VP Jeff Robertson of Delta:

“Thanks for your note. I’m well aware of the situation and so is the entire leadership team here at Delta. We have put some postings out on our website with respect to the issue and we continue to apologize for the inconvenience. I assure you that we are doing everything in our power to fix it. The issue however is more complicated however than anyone would expect.”

Now for me, what I think Delta should do is offer low level seats on Delta metal until the bug is fixed. This would be the RIGHT thing to do as no matter how hard the problem is to fix, we should not suffer anymore as a result of Delta IT issues.

I will keep you up to date with any more official and back stage unofficial news I can – Rene

 

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Are you an “understanding” Delta traveler?

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Last week SFO airport was in turmoil over a TSA scan of a potential bomb. Was it a bomb? No, it was an oxygen tank for an elderly lady. Before your head starts spinning and thinking all the things I did, like – “what, didn’t she pack it? She didn’t know what was in her own bag?” etc etc etc! Why do I say this? All of a sudden I had a flashback.

Before I tell you what happened, let me say that “understanding” is very much a perspective thing. While I get those who feel first class is for those over 18 and the kiddo ghetto in coach is for those who buy a cheap ticket, I also get those who say if I pay or burn my points, the kid has the same right to be up in the nose of the plane. I also admire and respect Rick the Frugal Travel Guy’s post saying he is changing his “feel” on kids in first now that he is a grandpa. Thus, yes, understanding is much a result of your personal circumstances and I get that and am fine with that so no flaming of the deltagoldflyer OK!

Now the story and, at last, the point of today’s post. My mom is over 80. My cousin will be flying with her GOT-DTW to come see me all in BIZ class on Delta for 200k for two tickets plus a ridiculous amount of tax since they are starting over there ( again American understanding not Euro understanding here ). The last time I flew with my mom starting in Sweden was 3 days after they arrested all the people in London with the liquid bomb scare so you could not bring an OUNCE of any liquid. Not even chap-stick!

Now we went GOT-CDG on the way to SBN. This was also after the collapse of the international terminal in CDG so it was still a mess. I will not bore you with the inadequate handicapped service for my mom but the result was a RUSH after 1+ hr in a shuttle with a broken ramp (I did get 20k Skymiles for this mess).So we finally get to the last security check point, just before boarding a 747, and being literally pulled through by the staff due to the long delay, and they start to search my mom’s bag. What did they find? A few sample tester bottles of perfume, a half eaten chocolate bar, about 200 vitamins that looked like drugs, and last but not least, a tin of sardines wrapped up in a plastic bag.

When confronted by the quizzical look from the security officer she turned to me and said, “I thought I would try and sneak them!” with a little giggle. AGAGAHHHGHGH!!! All this after telling her repeatedly NO liquids at all! I was ready to die. The very “French” look by security made me think we are not going to fly today and may end up even worse off. But it worked out and they tossed the lot and we sat down and they closed the door and pushed immediately!

So thanks for reading this personally most embarrassing story and let’s all try to be more understanding when we fly! – Rene

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If you are going to paint an airplane why not “this way up”?

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I love the clean look of the Delta colors on their birds. Southwest does their best to be light hearted but this South African one Kulula-air.com takes the cake. Has anyone seen one of these before or flown on one? Read more here!

 

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Seats, PNR’s & more with DELTA-KLM-AF

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Do you know that if you fly or buy a ticket on Delta then fly a KLM and or AF flight your record has more than one PNR assigned to it? It could even have 3! This will not show up on the DELTA.com web site or in any of the e-mail confirmations you get.

So how do you get these numbers. You can simply call Delta and ask for the PNR that has been creaded by KLM or AF assigned to your itinerary. Why would you want this number when you have the Delta one? Most of the time you do not need it and you can see your itinerary on the other sites with the Delta number. But  there are times when having the official KLM or AF one are nice to have when you have to contact them once in route. So I always make it a practice to get them and it has paid off.

Another reason is for seat assignments with KLM. With Delta flights you can pick seats right away. With KLM/AF only 90 days prior to fight. In the past you could work around this by starting at the AF web site and get access up to 331 days before flight, but this seems to have been locked down now. Coach and certain fare class tickets will not allow seats and even as a KLM Platinum they are less than helpful about overriding this rule and tell you they are assigned by the airport.

Hey, I have 2 more of the new Red and Pink Nuo iPad or HP Touchpad Sleeves. So, let me know, yes or no, neither answer will increase your chance to win, if you knew that KLM/AF assigns you a separate Passenger Number Record (PNR) to win! Same as last time Winner #1 get’s color choice and Winner #2 get’s the other one – René


 

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Ever wanted to play in a PGA PRO AM tournament? You can with POINTS!

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We points “junkies” are somewhat different compared to most people. When I say ORD you know I am talking about Chicago. We all have in our heads what a point is worth in Delta’s program or in say the AMEX Membership Rewards program. We all think about redeeming points for their best value in quantity of airline seats or quality of seats. If going for a hotel we want the biggest room for the least points. That’s value for our, ah hem, “hard earned” points!

 

Well here is a redemption I bet most of you have never ever seen or looked at. It is the SPG “Experiences” page. Most of us bloggers love the SPG personal and business card points due to the fact that if you send say 20,000 points to Delta you end up with 25,000. Redemption for rooms is very nice also. But points are for more than just cost savings. Most of us will never want to or have the income to spend say $10,000 for a 1st class Lufthansa ticket but will happily burn 135,000 points to do it. So my point is how many times, for any price, could you have the chance to play golf with say Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Bob Charles, Billy Casper? Or have a golf lesson from Mark McCumber and Andy North and then play the TPC Sawgrass? Look at this part of the SPG site for all the things you can spend your points on other than air and hotels.

 

Is the experience worth the points? That is up to you but I want you at least to think outside the box and know what you can do with SPG points that money can not always buy! – René

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AirTran fare sale from ATL & it looks like Delta will match

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I was just looking today and saw this new piece that AirTran  is going to have a sale on select Atlanta routes. I looked at Delta ATL-MDW and the ticket price appears to be matched that is $69 each way with tax.

With so many price increases coming at us, sometimes 2 or 3 per month, any kind of price match is great while it lasts! (also keep your eyes open for any kind of fare mistake from a fat fingered rep entering in the new codes!) – René

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